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Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman tells of his brother’s asbestos tragedy

Labour’s Mr Sheerman said his brother Bob died of mesothelioma and claimed his employer, BP, did everything in its power to keep the compensation payout as low as possible

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has made an impassioned appeal for more help for victims of asbestosis.

And he did so with a tragic story about his own brother, who died of the condition.

Labour’s Mr Sheerman said his brother Bob died of mesothelioma and claimed his employer, BP, did everything in its power to keep the compensation payout as low as possible.

In a Westminster debate, Mr Sheerman accused the multinational oil and gas company of prioritising compensation in the wake of high-profile disasters such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico over damages for its own employees.

He told the Commons: “There have been so many injustices in this area. My own brother Bob died of this condition. He worked for BP for many years – all his life he worked for BP.

“Actually, when he was told that he had this, BP worked as hard as they could to give as little as possible.

“A company like that is never... all the money they have put into what happened in the oil spill in America, compared to their own employees.

“I feel very strongly about this and support the amendments absolutely, also because many people in the asbestos industry worked in West Yorkshire.”

Labour former minister Nick Brown tabled an amendment that would guarantee victims 100% of the average damages recovered in civil mesothelioma cases.

But Work and Pensions Minister Mike Penning said the amendment supported by Mr Brown would cost £80 million.

“The cost of taking it (the compensation scheme) back to when the consultation started (in 2010) would be £80 million,” he said.

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